China is strengthening regulations on online advertising especially with politically sensitive content and those that threaten public order and people's health.
According to a work plan, authorities will monitor online advertising on 1,000 major websites, 1,000 leading regional or national media, 1,000 mobile applications and 1,000 public accounts on various social media platforms.
The work plan was jointly released by 11 ministries on Monday, including the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, Office of the Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security.
A special campaign aimed at rectifying and correcting internet advertising was conducted by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce days before the work plan was released, according to a notice published on its official website on February 12.
China is going on a national campaign to clean up the online environment, including inappropriate online videos distorting popular cartoon characters and online games, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Major internet companies including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent were asked to strengthen their self-discipline and supervision against pornographic, obscene and vulgar content.
"Advertisements are part of life and can have a direct impact on public security and happiness, which is why the ruling party is making an effort to clean up the advertising environment," Qin An, an expert on cyber security at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce on Wednesday published a list of 12 companies involved in illegal advertisements that were investigated and punished in 2017.
According to the list, Qiancheng Technology, a network technology company based in Shanghai, published ads of "nude loans," wherein people provide naked photos as loan collateral. The company was fined 800,000 yuan (2,000) for the advertisements and vulgar pictures and text on its Weibo account.
A dry-cleaning company called Sunway was fined 600,000 yuan for illegally using images of national leaders in advertisements and exaggerating the size of the company.
The online advertisement monitoring system will be further developed in 2018, and the ability to monitor advertisements remotely will be improved, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
"Public tips should be encouraged, and it is also important to perfect the legal system to increase the penalties and make the amount of penalties outweigh their gains," Qin said.